This Flaky Pie Crust recipe can be used for both sweet or savory pies! It’s a basic, all-butter pie crust recipe that uses simple, everyday ingredients for the most tender and flaky pie crust you’ll ever eat. So easy to make without a food processor or a pastry cutter!
It’s pie season! And today I’m sharing my “go-to” pie crust because trust me … You need this in your life during the holidays … or any day for that matter!
This is one of those pie crust that makes you want to keep on going back for … just one more piece (famous last words). Heck, this pie crust is so good, my friend and I ate it blind baked, with no filling. We couldn’t keep our hands off of it!
You’ll love how easy it is to make and you can go ahead and get a few ready now and freeze them for later. Just pull them out a day or two before you’re ready to make your pies and let thaw out in the fridge! One less thing you’ll have to do on Thanksgiving Day!
So what makes this pie crust so tender and flaky?
The secret is two fold …
First, this recipe uses a small amount of vinegar. Using an acid in the dough helps to prevent the formation of gluten which in turns makes the crust more tender.
Second, the butter is rolled into flat pieces instead of round chunks. The flat pieces of butter are distributed in layers which makes the crust extra flaky!
How to make Flaky Pie Crust from Scratch (without a food processor):
- Make the water and vinegar mixture. In a one cup liquid measuring cup, place one ice cube and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. Fill with cold water until it reaches the 1/2 cup mark line. Set aside to chill.
- Combine Dry Ingredients and Butter in a bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Toss the cold cubed butter in the flour mixture and then dump it all onto a clean work-surface.
- Roll butter into flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the butter into the flour mixture. This will create thin ribbons of butter within the flour that will help to create a super flaky crust when baked.
- Cut butter into smaller pieces. Use a bench scraper to cut the butter into smaller pieces. Gather the mixture back into a tight circle and repeat 3 or 4 more times.
- Place mixture back into the bowl. Use the bench scraper to scoop the mixture up and back into the mixing bowl.
- Add water/vinegar mixture. Pour the water into the dry ingredients, a couple tablespoons at a time, so that you don’t add too much. You may need more or less than 1/2 cup depending on the flour and the current humidity in your kitchen. Use the spatula to help start incorporating the water into the mixture, then use your hands to bring the ingredients together and form a ball in the bottom of the bowl.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours before rolling out. (Disk of dough can be frozen in a few layers of plastic wrap and a freezer bag for up to 3 months.)
- Roll dough into 14 inch round. If you are ready to start baking, take the dough out of the fridge about 5-10 minutes before rolling out to soften slightly. On a well floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 14 inch round that’s got about a 1/8″ thickness. Make sure to flour the rolling pin and the surface of the dough, generously, to prevent sticking.
- Place pie crust in pie plate. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and then carefully place it in the pie plate.
- Trim edges of pie crust. Trim a 1 inch overhang from the edge of the plate. Tuck under and press down to seal. Place pie plate into fridge to chill and set up before freezing or baking.
- If baking, follow the directions for the pie you are baking. It will either call for an uncooked pie crust or a blind baked pie crust. If freezing pie shell, wrap the pie plate in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze until ready to bake. Let the pie crust thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Tips for Making Flaky Pie Crust from Scratch:
- Best flour for Pie Crust. The best flour to use is unbleached, all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour has about 12% protein, which is not too delicate like pastry flour, but not too tough and grainy to work with like whole wheat flour either.
- Butter. I suggest using COLD unsalted butter whenever you are baking so that you can control the salt levels in a recipe. If all you have is salted butter, just adjust the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Remember that an all-butter crust won’t give you the edge crimping ability like a crust made with shortening. You’ll get a more rustic looking pie with an all-butter pie crust!
- Ice Water/Vinegar. Add the ice water a few tablespoons at a time. If you add too much, you’ll end up with a big sticky mess. If you don’t add enough water, you’ll have a crumbly mixture that will break apart when rolling it out. Just add enough water for the dough to come together! And don’t be afraid to use your hands when bringing the dough together, but work quickly so that the butter stays as cold as possible!
- Tender Crust. Adding an acid to the dough creates a more tender crust. I use white vinegar for this recipe because I, and most likely you, always have it on hand! You can substitute the same amount of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or even vodka for similar results if you don’t have white vinegar.
- Rolling out the Dough. Don’t be afraid to use generous amount of flour on your work surface. Also, flour the rolling pin and the top of the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to about a 1/8 inch thickness for the perfect pie crust!
- Storing the dough. Refrigerate. Place the wrapped dough disks or pie shell in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Freeze. You can freeze the disks of dough, up to 3 months, for later use. Wrap each dough disk with a few layers of plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. I suggest putting the wrapped dough inside of a freezer bag for extra protection.) Or, form your pie shell and freeze it for even less work later!
Flaky Pie Crust
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup ice water minus 2 teaspoons
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, see notes in recipe for water/vinegar mixture
- Prepare the water/vinegar mixture. Drop an ice-cube into a measuring cup. Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. Fill the measuring cup up with water to the 1/2 cup mark. Set aside to chill.
- Mix Flour and Butter. Toss the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and then dump them out onto a clean work surface.Use a rolling pin to roll the butter into the flour mixture. Use a bench scraper to gather the flour and butter together and then cut the butter with the bench scraper into smaller pieces. Repeat this process a couple of times, until the butter is incorporated into the flour. Pick the mixture up using the bench scraper and place back into the bowl.
- Add Water. Pour the water mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into the flour/butter mixture and use your hands to quickly bring the dough together. You don't want the dough to be sticky or crumbly, so add water slowly to get the right texture. Do not over work the dough.
- Divide and Chill. Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (Skip to step 7 if you'd like to freeze the pie dough at this stage.)
- Form Pie Shell. To form the pie shell, take a disk from the refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes at room temperature. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 14 inch round. Wrap the dough over the rolling pin, pick it up and carefully unroll it over a 9 inch pie plate. Gently fit the pie into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to trim a 1 inch overhang. Fold the edges under and press to seal.
- Blind Bake. Place a piece of parchment paper or coffee filter into the center of the pie crust. Fill the center with pie weights or dry beans to keep the dough from puffing up while baking. Chill for 30 minutes. Bake the crust at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and carefully lift out the paper and weights. Prick the bottom of the crust using a fork to prevent bubbles, return to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden all over.
- Freeze. To freeze the dough disk, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and then put the wrapped dough into a freezer bag. To freeze pie shell, place the pie shell into the refrigerator to chill and set for 1 hour. Wrap tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap and place in freezer until ready to bake. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Little Spoon Farm update. If you’ve read my about page, you’ll know that my husband and I purchased some land near the mountains of TN at the end of 2017 and promptly named it Little Spoon Farm. Why do we call it that?? Well, Little Spoon was the first nickname my husband gave me, so for me it’s a term of endearment. I actually wanted to name my food blog Little Spoon back when I first started it in 2014, but the name was already taken, so Amy in the Kitchen it is …
These pictures were taken in August when the grass was still lush and green due to the fact that there has been a lot of rain in the area this year (2018). Currently there are 11 black angus cows that enjoy grazing and relaxing in these grassy pastures. If you look closely in the 4th picture, you’ll see one of them staring at us while they find relief from the heat in the barn. The barn is well over 100 years old and it’s one of my favorites parts of the property so I thought I’d feature it today.
A creek runs right through the middle of the property, where the cows are able to get fresh water whenever their heart desires. The female cows are pregnant, but I’m not sure when to expect the newborns just yet!
We had planned to build a little white farmhouse, nothing fancy, just somewhere to be comfortable and lay our heads down at night. Building is going to be put off for a little while, but that’s not going to stop up from enjoying our property. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months. I have news to share and I’d love to have your opinion on somethings we are thinking of doing there!